Social capital and reported discrimination among people with depression in 15 European countries

Silvia Zoppei, Antonio Lasalvia, Chiara Bonetto, Tine Van Bortel, Fredrica Nyqvist, Martin Webber, Esa Aromaa, Jaap Van Weeghel, Mariangela Lanfredi, Judit Harangozó, Kristian Wahlbeck, Graham Thornicroft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Social capital is a protective factor for mental health. People with depression are vulnerable to discrimination and its damaging impact. No previous studies have explored the link between social capital and experienced or anticipated discrimination in people with depression. This study aims to test the hypothesis that levels of self-reported discrimination in people with depression are inversely associated with social capital levels.

Method: A total of 434 people with major depression recruited in outpatient settings across 15 European countries participated in the study. Multivariable regression was used to analyse relationships between discrimination and interpersonal and institutional trust, social support and social network.

Results: Significant inverse association was found between discrimination and social capital in people with major depression. Specifically, people with higher levels of social capital were less likely to have elevated or substantially elevated levels of experienced discrimination.

Conclusions: Higher level of social capital may be closely associated with lower level of experienced discrimination among patients with major depression. It is important to explore these associations more deeply and to establish possible directions of causality in order to identify interventions that may promote social capital and reduce discrimination. This may permit greater integration in society and more access to important life opportunities for people with depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1589-1598
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Sep 17 2014


  • Depression
  • Discrimination
  • Multisite study
  • Social capital
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Epidemiology
  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Medicine(all)


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